1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

E-P3 Highlight clipping problem

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Gusnyc, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    Hi,

    I had my E-P3 for a couple of weeks now, and I noticed that the pictures I am getting from it have a tendency to have the highlights clipped (loss of detail), comparing with shots coming from an E-PL1. Skies tend to become white, instead of light blue, for example. This happens in all the settings (iAuto, M, P, S).

    Is there a setting that I am forgetting about in the E-P3? I tend to believe that it is my lack of experience, instead of hardware fault. In any case, it is possible that I have a faulty camera or is just my faulty talent? Is it a matter of the camera being more sensitive to light?

    In the E-PL1 I didn't have to fiddle with the exposure compensation that much. With the E-PL3, it seems that I have to lower it all the time if I don't want clippings.

    What am I doing wrong? I would really appreciate your help/comments.

    Gus
     
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Dunno exactly, but in the PL1 custom menu there's an exposure shift that permanently pushes the metering level down. I have that set to drop out a third of a stop because I found that the PL1 tends to overexpose. Maybe you can do similar on the P3?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    807
    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Haven't notice this myself. You may try setting the Info screen to Highlight/Shadow. This gives you immediate feedback on what's going to be clipped and you can adjust accordingly.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. twmangrove

    twmangrove Mu-43 Regular

    110
    May 8, 2011
    The Shuswap, B.C.
    Is gradation on Auto?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    Definitely not more sensitive to light. The difference is either in the metering or, more likely, processing. Maybe check the contrast settings.

    How much do you need to underexpose? Could you post samples?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    Samples

    Here I am attaching two pictures.

    In one of them the sky was mostly light blue, with just a few clouds, but it looks almost gray. In the other, the sunlight on the brown nose of Mack is totally clipped.
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  7. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    What metering method are you using? Maybe center weighted average would help.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    This photo is backlighted therefore the sky is much brighter than other areas. I guess pattern metering decided to retain details in the grass, houses etc which takes most of the frame. This is more or less what I would expect. You could measure off the sky, lock exposure and recompose (or use exp. compensation), keeping the details in the sky, but you would lose the details in other areas, the face of the man would be almost a silhouette. I believe, only in a small area in the sky the highlights are actually clipped. HDR or similar processing often works well on this kind of shots, and it's best to have a RAW file for that.

    In this case I think it's just an unlucky ray of light through the sunroof. The image itself doesn't look overexposed.

    There are very nice exposures in your flickr gallery. Great images :thumbup:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    The grass pic looks a bit underexposed, looks like it may have been center weighted with the labrador being the main metering point with his light fur color might have lead to a bit underexposure which may saved a bit of the clouds from being completely blown out. I personally don't think if improperly exposed by the camera's default levels. For that scene for a different result, may have needed some manual control of exposure if you wanted the cloud/sky to be retained.

    The car shot, tough shot for any camera. Based on the noise on the leather seats, seems like a drop in dynamic range too so maybe a bit high in iso?? Curious, what lens was it taken with. Maybe a bw conversion with addition of some grain could save the nose clipping.

    Overall, I think both pics are ok .. nothing really out of whack.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Both of those exposures look fine. I think you are confusing your experience of the scene with what a camera records.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. For better or worse, a camera can see things much differently to our own eyes. Our "exposure" shifts as our eyes move around a scene, whereas a camera has to choose one. Do you still have the E-PL1 to perform a back-to-back test?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    I've been using the Digital EPS metering.

    From the manual: The camera meters exposure in 324 areas of the frame and optimizes exposure for the current scene or (if an option other than [OFF] is selected for [I Face Priority]) portrait subject. This mode is recommended for general use.
     
  13. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    Gradation

    No, it was on Normal. Should I change it to Auto? Is that a better setting?
     
  14. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    The photo's have nice detail and are in focus.. I would recommend PP software like Lightroom or Aperture and tighten up the areas you are not happy with. NIK software is also very useful.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    PS- I love the dog too... DOGS RULE!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    I actually use Aperture to manage my photos. My fear is that I have some kind of defective Camera.
     
  17. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    661
    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Zach
    The camera looks fine. In the second photo, the dog in the car, that's sort of a classic example of where cameras will overexpose. The majority of the photo is one level of light, and then the little bit of sun on his nose is WAY brighter. If the camera didn't clip that part, the rest of the photo would be very underexposed. I run into this challenge all the time shooting trail runners or animals in the woods where it's shady with bits of sunlight coming through the leaves. If you want to do better than that, you'll have to go to an APS-C or full frame camera, it's one of the compromises we accept with the smaller m4/3 sensor size.
     
  18. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    The only way around is to shoot raw and convert it later by masking. Process raw for grass and process one image for the sky (then merging the 2 files and masking around the grass to reveal the sky). Unfortunately, I don't think there is a good raw option yet for the EP3.

    As for the dog, you can try the same concept as above but the starting image you have to make sure wasn't entirely clipped. I almost always shoot with the highlight feature one to see what if any part of the image is subject to clipping and then underexpose if anything and bring up the exposure in the raw convertor.
     
  19. goldjim

    goldjim Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Apr 22, 2011
    Md.
    Set the contrast to -2 and set the EC to -1/3. See if that helps.
     
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Those samples look like the camera is behaving as expected. No evidence of faulty equipment. Those are just challenging scenes to get the desired results.